NIFA made the awards through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill, to protect consumers from microbial and chemical contaminants in the food chain.
AFRI’s Food Safety program is made up of five sub-programs Enhancing Food Safety through Improved Processing Technologies, Effective Mitigation Strategies for Antimicrobial Resistance, Identifying and Targeting Food Safety Needs, Improving Food Safety and Improving Food Quality.
Sonny Ramaswamy, NIFA director, said increasing food safety continues to be a major focus for USDA
“Funding provided to universities supports discoveries of new ways that we can prevent foodborne illnesses and increase the safety of our food production industry.”
Projects include the University of Arkansas evaluatng antimicrobial effects of bacteriopathogens in edible coatings with natural antimicrobials against foodborne pathogens in ready-to-eat foods. (see the full list and descriptions here).
Michigan State University will enhance the development, improvement, and commercial adoption of pasteurization technologies for low-moisture foods, considering efficacy, product quality, regulatory requirements, energy use, and suitability for the target end-users.
Work in previous years includes the University of Nebraska reducing Shiga toxin-producing E. coli (STEC) along the beef production pathway and development of microwave pasteurization technology at Washington State University to reduce pathogens and extend shelf-life of processed foods.
Efforts at the University of California-Davis to understand how pathogens survive on and infect fresh produce and Georgia Tech looking at new methods of Salmonella detection.